The Miniature World of Marvin & James [Masterpiece Adventures]
by Elise Broach; illus. by Kelly Murphy
Primary Ottaviano/Holt 104 pp.
2/14 978-0-8050-9190-8 $15.99
e-book ed. 978-1-6277-9204-2 $9.99
A new early chapter book series follows the friendship of beetle Marvin and human boy James of Masterpiece (rev. 11/08), for a younger audience. The sentences are shorter and the illustrations more prominent, but the amiable tone and the relatable characters (even the beetles) are just the same. Marvin helps James pack a suitcase for the boy’s week-long trip to the beach. With James away, Marvin and his cousin Elaine have some adventures inside the house. A nice tension is created as Marvin and Elaine gleefully dive into some wood shavings to play in what the child reader will recognize as a (dangerous-to-beetles) electric pencil sharpener. New readers will be rewarded for the effort by this page-turning adventure, which is written throughout with emotional authenticity and illustrated with lively pen-and-ink illustrations in a brown and gray palette, ending with a very satisfying conclusion.
From the May/June 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.